A situation in which women are punished for bearing children is utterly unpardonable two decades into the country’s democracy. This view was expressed at a recent conference which drew trade unions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The conference called for an 11 months maternity leave for mothers to address the problem which expectant employed women face. Condemning the legislation as outdated, Cosatu gender chair, Sharone Daniels, commented: “The current legislation appears to have been written without consideration of women in the workplace. It was expected that women would be pregnant and chained to the stove. The law has to change to accommodate women.”
Presently the legislation grants four months of maternity leave, which women rights activists feel is not enough to allow a woman to bond with a newly born baby.
Taking a different view, SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry senior policy consultant, Pietman Roos, warned that extending maternity leave would potentially drive away organisations from employing women. “The legislation would ultimately reduce chances for women to get a job,” he said.